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voltage converter

i see so many mix reviews about the converters. does anybody have one that they just rave about. i think i only need it for my wifes hair dryer. she got to have hers. and is it true that if the plug says 110/220 for the input all i need is an adapter for the plug.

Posted by
3343 posts

All you need is the plug adapter, but I haven't stayed anywhere (hotel, B&B or apartment) in the past 7 years that didn't have a hair dryer in the room. She doesn't need to take it.

Posted by
15640 posts

Hair dryers suck a lot of power, so make sure it has the necessary power ratings. Or, since they are commonly supplied in most hotel rooms, leave it at home.

Posted by
23994 posts

she got to have hers

and you can take her's if she wants you to - it may be the best way to have harmony in the home, and we all want harmony in the home.

She should, however, realise that when the dryer is set to 220 voltage it will run considerably slower (less puff) and considerably hotter than when plugged in at home on 110.

Don't forget to switch the little switch before you put it in the suitcase or the first time it is plugged in at your destination it will blow up with plenty of sparks and smoke, and maybe if you are particularly lucky a bit of fire thrown in.

It should be safe IF it has the switch set correctly.

Many people find that the hair dryer from home stays in the suitcase and is just a couple of pounds of wasted weight to lug around.

Many people on the second trip leave the home dryer at home and use the provided ones. Some better, some worse, but most manage.

Posted by
11742 posts

I'd agree with Sam: most hotels either provide them in the rooms or check them out at the desk.

Posted by
11711 posts

Ask your wife to read through this topic; she may change her mind.

I used to take my own dual-voltage hair dryer, but when set for 220V it does not work as well as the ones provided by the hotel or apartment. So, as Nigel predicts, it stayed in the suitcase, totally superfluous. Now I leave it home.

If she is unconvinced and wishes to take it, I suggest you set the switch to 220V before putting it in the suitcase. That way you won't be searching for the right tool in Europe---sometimes it takes a coin, but some need a screwdriver of the correct size and type.

Posted by
31078 posts


Could you clarify one point.....

  • "is it true that if the plug says 110/220 for the input"

Is this listed on the plug of the Hair Dryer or on the Nameplate label, which will be somewhere on the Dryer itself?

One obvious question that occurs to me is that if the Hair Dryer is designed for dual-voltage operation (as implied by your reference to 110/220), then why would you need a Voltage Converter at all?

People who travel with high wattage appliances such as Hair Dryers often use solid-state Voltage Converters, since these are the cheapest and easily carried since they're small and light. These converters typically use a form of switch-mode power supply, which produces a very rough equivalent of a sine wave, and some devices don't react well with these (usually appliances with electronic controls such as Hair Straighteners, and some manufacturers prohibit their products from being used with Voltage Converters). A better method is to use a Transformer-type Voltage Converter which produces a completely accurate sine wave, but high wattage versions of these are inherently heavy so not as practical for travel. None of the Voltage Converters can change the frequency, so with any of them the appliances will be operating on 50 Hz.

Posted by
307 posts

I suggest your wife looks at the hotels you are staying at to see if hair dryers are included. I've blown up 2 over the years, and then just quit taking them. The last trip to Italy included a couple of places (smaller than 6 rooms) that I was unsure about but they included them in the rooms. Never again will I waste space that could be used for bringing wonderful things back. If she absolutely has to have one, have her buy it when she gets there. Do not bother with bringing one from home. She can leave it in the last place you stay. I'm sure the staff would be happy to dispose of it.

Posted by
1406 posts

My partner can't live without a strong hair dryer, she buys a 220V only unit from Amazon (or similar) before a trip and then just needs plug adapters. Lugging converters around is so 1985.

Posted by
103 posts

I have a dual voltage travel hair dryer like this one (though mine's a couple of years old) and it's worked really well for me.

It dries my hair quickly and I haven't noticed a difference in how it operates on 220v vs. 110v. I frequently travel with it, because it doesn't take up much space/weight, I know it works well, and some hotel hair dryers I've encountered have been pretty pathetic. When I travel for business, unfortunately, I do have to worry about how my hair looks, so I don't leave as much to chance as I might on vacation.

Posted by
409 posts

One important thing to be aware of is almost no hotel, b&b or home in Ireland, England and a few other places have electrical outlets in the bathroom! They think I'm crazy when i say i miss that! I couldn't even get one in my own house!

So - she'll be blow drying her hair in the bedroom, not the bathroom!


Posted by
17748 posts

The hotel I stayed at in London had a receptacle by the sink in the bathroom, but the breaker was only 5 amp (1200W). When I plugged in a hairdryer, it blew the breaker. Apparently it was only for shavers.

"you won't be searching for the right tool in Europe"

At a place in Berchtesgaden, they had a hair dryer in the bathroom. It had the voltage change tool on the cord. Why? It was already set for 230V. Why would anyone staying there need to change the voltage unless they were planning to steal it and take it back to the US.

BTW, the EU has specified that the nominal voltage in Europe is to be 230V. The continent used to be 220V while the UK was 240V, but they've split the difference. For now, the tolerance is wide enough to accommodate both 220 and 240 volts, but in time they will both have to converge on 230V.

Posted by
5558 posts

The hotel I stayed at in London had a receptacle by the sink in the bathroom, but the breaker was only 5 amp (1200W). When I plugged in a hairdryer, it blew the breaker. Apparently it was only for shavers.

Here's the explanation about "shaver outlets" in bathrooms:

Regardless of the plug or socket used, these “shavers only” sockets
share another common feature: They severely restrict power output
using a fuse or modern GFCI device. UK sockets are supposed to limit
output to just 200 mA, while other standards allow a range of 20 to 40
Watts (which is pretty much the same thing in different units).

If in doubt, don't plug it in.

Posted by
17748 posts

"UK sockets are supposed to limit output to just 200 mA"

I opened the door on the breaker box, which was in the room. The breaker that had tripped said 5 amps.

It was not a UK receptacle and it was not 110V.

But this was in 1990.